6 Tips to Help You Live More Frugally
After covering 6 “myths” about frugality, I thought it might be a good idea to provide 6 tips on how to live a more frugal lifestyle. Here’s some suggestions that I have found particularly useful. If you have others, then I would love to hear them…share them below in the Comments!
1. Understand why you want to be more frugal
Perhaps you want to have more time for yourself or to spend with your family and friends? Alternatively, you’re looking to reduce your spending or debt to get greater financial freedom. Maybe you want to feel better about how you live your life? To feel proud that you are living according to your values and are being part of the solution rather than the problem? Whatever your reason for wanting to live a more frugal life, knowing why can help guide you in key areas such as:
What to focus on: do you want to be more frugal with your time, your money, or to live a more environmentally conscious life?
Explaining yourself to friends and family
What to do when times get tough: more about this below…
2. Prepare for tough times
We all know that change is hard. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve tried to make a change in my life and failed! It would be great if everything were easy and we never had to deal with failure, but we need to be honest and realize that it’s a fact of life. And with this knowledge comes power, because you can prepare for future challenges and be ready to meet them head on.
How do you do this? You can start by considering the following:
What might go wrong? What situation, person or event might derail your efforts?
What could you do to either avoid that situation, person or event or reduce the impact?
Would a support team help you to maintain your frugal focus? Or someone to help hold you accountable? If so, who could you ask?
3. Get Creative
Our imagination is a powerful tool that can help us achieve goals that can seem initially insurmountable. A common frugal goal is to reduce how much money we spend, so try to brainstorm other ways to get what you need without spending. You could start by asking yourself:
Can I rent it?
Can I borrow it?
Can I find it for free from somewhere – e.g. a library?
Can I trade my time or skills for it?
Can I make it myself?
How else could I get what I need?
If you are looking to save time, then think about:
How much time can I save by eliminating tasks? Do I need to do this?
How much time can I save by reducing the amount of time I spend on tasks? Can I do it faster?
How much time can I save by changing the order I do the tasks? Can I do it more efficiently?
How much time can I save by paying someone else to do it for me?
4. Learn from yourself and others
Have you tried to live more frugally in the past and failed? Delving deeper into our failures can often set us up for future success, because we can learn more about exactly what went wrong and, more importantly, why.
Alternatively, if you know others who seem to be successfully living a more frugal life, then pick their brains! Find out what they are doing right, and ask them about mistakes they might have made.
5. Track your progress
If you are trying to live more frugally, how do you know when you’re succeeding? How do you know that what you are doing is making a difference?
Tracking your progress is one great way to check how you are doing. It could be time or money saved, or debt reduced, or amount recycled…whatever makes the most sense.
If you’re not making the progress that you want, then you can look at what you’re doing and make adjustments.
6. Have fun
If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, then it can be hard to keep motivated and continue to pursue your goal. Here’s some ideas to make frugal living more pleasurable:
Change your focus: It’s easy to get sucked into the negative side of frugality and to think that you need to give something up or stop doing something. Instead, focus on what you are gaining. Swap your negative thoughts like “I need to give up social media”, to more affirmative ones such as “I will have more time to spend with my family if I reduce the time I spend on social media”. By focusing on the positive you are more likely to be successful.
Make it a game: whether it’s beating your previous “high score” or “levelling up”, making it a game can make it more fun and be incredibly motivating
Celebrate: Set a goal, and when you hit it, celebrate! If you’re just getting started, make it a small goal, because quick success can be a great motivator.
Remember that frugality is not about being stingy or a Scrooge – that was Myth #3: Frugal people are cheap and stingy!
I hope these tips are useful, and if you know anyone else who would benefit from them, feel free to share on Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook by using the super-easy share buttons below!